THE FRACTAL PRINCE
Stop. Do not pick up this book. Really. Just put it down, and go pick up Rajaniemi’s first in this series. If you start here, you will be so completely confused that the brilliance of this novel will be lost on you. An understanding of the plot behind the first book is essential for enjoying this one. If, on the other hand, you’re all caught up, you should dive right in. The characters are less compelling, but the science is just as real and fascinating as the first go-round. This is some of the best and most believable science fiction written in the last decade. But this reviewer is not pleased with some of the liberties taken with common language usage. Perhaps that is a bit unfair, as this is a future world, but the author must still remember that the reader is living in the present tense.
Thief Jean de Flambeur is in trouble, as he has been through many years and many lifetimes. Using the help of an extremely intelligent spaceship, he must break open a Schrodinger’s box, which contains his freedom, all while betraying the emotionally naïve yet quick- thinking Tawaddud. Also up for betrayal? Mieli, the ship’s captain and most of the gods of the worlds. Immortality hardly seems worth it. (TOR, Dec., 320 pp., $25.99)